Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Just Had to Adapt, Says Tait; Team Will Play Power Game

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Falcons Just Had to Adapt, Says Tait; Team Will Play Power Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Purewal

FEARING Newcastle Falcons would slip off the Guinness Premiership pace, Alan Tait admits he pushed hard for Kingston Park's summer changes.

Never backward in coming forward, the former British Lion and Rugby League Great Britain centre said behind-thescenes switches had to happen to safeguard top-flight rugby at Kingston Park.

Praising new conditioning coach Andy Smith for whipping the new-look squad into some shape in pre-season, Tait said extra power and strength work should stand the side in good stead for a physical campaign.

"I'd been involved with international rugby in Scotland for the last eight or so years, and had been knocking around that calibre of player," said Falcons assistant coach Tait.

"So I got to know the way they are training and applying themselves, the work that goes in off the field to get them to that standard.

"I just thought Newcastle had fallen away a little bit, in terms of trying to compete with these guys. So if we wanted to compete we had to change things, and get our lads up to that international standard.

"The international boys have everything done for them, they get their noses wiped, but that's what it's like and they expect that.

"We've had a lot of backs come through this club and get England honours, but not too many forwards, and we want to try to reverse that.

"Certainly we have young, talented forwards, and hopefully this extra conditioning push will get them there.

"James Hudson has slotted straight into the system without issue, because it's pretty similar to what he had been doing at London Irish. And Micky Ward's loving it, he's lost a lot of weight, his skin folds have come down and he feels better for it. They were getting tested earlier this week and he looks brilliant, like a youngster again.

"Everything's completely changed round, there's no secret we've got a new conditioner and a new weights room with the university helping us bring in a new type of training. …

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